High school cross country is a big deal around here. There are some very fast individuals and some very fast teams. As a former high school cross country runner, I enjoy following the action.
The Fayetteville-Manlius Girls (NY)
The FM girls won seven straight national titles (NXN) before being upset by Wayzata (MN) last year. FM returns five girls who have run under 19 minutes and three girls who have run under 18 minutes. At their first meet of the season on Wednesday, FM placed six girls before anyone else crossed the tape. Wayzata, on the other hand, has three of its top five runners back. Other schools that look to be in the mix at Nationals:
Pennsbury (PA) – 11th last year at Nationals – they return six of their top seven and they have five girls who have run under 19 minutes
Saratoga Springs (NY) – 15th last year at Nationals – they have six of their top seven back
Desert Vista (AZ) – they have six girls who have run under 19 minutes including Dani Jones, a 4:43 miler.
If the Fayetteville-Manlius girls stay healthy, I think they will get back to their winning ways.
The Fayetteville-Manlius Boys (NY)
The FM boys were 4th last year at nationals and they return six of their top seven, including Bryce Millar. At the first meet of the season, five runners ran 16:00 or faster, including two guys under 15:15 (Millar won in 15:12.1). They won easily – and that was against another nationally ranked team!
The Liverpool Boys (NY)
The Liverpool boys were 20th last year at nationals. They have back six of their top seven, but it wasn’t enough to handle FM in this early season battle. Liverpool’s fourth guy ran 16:27 but their fifth guy was at 16:49 – they will look to improve on that to be competitive at the national level.
Both FM and Liverpool will have to deal with Christian Brothers Academy, the powerhouse from Lincroft, NJ.
I think the FM Boys will take the national title and I think Bryce Millar has an excellent shot at the individual title (although Grant Fisher might have something to say about that). The boys ran exceedingly well early in the season, and if they stay healthy, I’m not sure anyone can catch them.
Click here to read an XC preview (boys) from Running Times.
Click here to read an XC preview (girls) from Running Times.